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Five Arrested After Raids That Send A Stark Warning To Cross-border Criminals

Published on: 30 Nov, 2012
Updated on: 30 Nov, 2012

Police drugs raid raids across Guildford and other parts of Surrey yesterday (Thursday, November 29) sent a stark warning to cross-border criminals, according to officers, with five people being arrested.

A scene at one of yesterday’s drugs raids undertaken by Surrey Police. This is a still taken from the police’s own film clip that can be seen on YouTube.

They were the first phase of an unprecedented crackdown on the supply of class A drugs being brought into the area from London.

Operation Hearth is aimed at targeting those involved in the supply of class A drugs, and in particular criminals travelling into Surrey from London.

Surrey Police said the raids demonstrate the determination its has to stamp out the infiltration of class A drugs into its local communities and are another example of how the force continues to work to keep the county safe from travelling criminals.

Surrey Police has posted a graphic clip of a part of a raid on a house in Guildford on its YouTube wesbsite, with comments by Chief Inspector Matt Goodridge. Click here to view.

Five people were arrested as a result of the operation. Three were detained in custody having been arrested around lunchtime at various addresses.

Two men from London were arrested on Wednesday, November 28, a 21-year-old man has been charged with possession with intent to supply having been discovered with 19 wraps of cocaine. An 18-year-old has been charged with possession of a Class B drug and has been bailed until December 12, with a bail condition not to enter Surrey.

The raids across a dozen addresses in Guildford, Woking and Surrey Heath focused on suspects linked to the illegal supply of class A and B drugs. These dealers were identified through information gathered, but Surrey Police said it is not complacent and has warned this is just the start, with more activity planned over the upcoming weeks.

Activity started with a briefing for more than 100 operational officers who teamed up with detectives, dog handlers, search teams, rapid entry units, Surrey Police’s antisocial behaviour team and drug liaison officers.

Guildford Neighbourhood Commander Chief Inspector Matt Goodridge.

Guildford Neighbourhood Commander Chief Inspector Matt Goodridge said, yesterday: “Today sees officers act on the information and evidence gathered over the past few months. Operation Hearth is focused on disrupting the activities of dealers coming into the borough and interrupting the supply of illegal drugs. The action also tackles those involved in associated criminality, such as those involved in burglary and handling stolen goods – there is a clear link between drug users funding their habit by committing such offences.

“This operation is as a result of careful, painstaking work to draw out those street level dealers who need to be flushed out of our communities. Operation Hearth will help in keeping the streets of Guildford safe for residents and workers alike by bringing offenders to justice.”

He went on to explain that the information gathered from Thursday’s activity will be used to carry our further raids over the next few days. He said: “Our challenge now is to prevent alternative suppliers filling the gap. We will work with partner agencies to help those users who may seek to use this time as an opportunity to stop using drugs and officers will continue to enforce the law against those who supply them.

“Residents will see first hand increased patrols in areas where there are known problems, specific targeting of locations where drugs are sold and used, together with the sharing of information with the community.”

C/ Insp Goodridge said that everyone played a part in keeping their neighbourhoods safe, clean and pleasant environments in which to live and work. He added: “I am absolutely convinced that the action today is an effective way of reducing crime in the area – by tackling those who illegally use, supply and sell illegal drugs, especially Class A drugs, we will reduce the cause of crime.

“However, success in combating drug problems in West Surrey is a community issue and help from the public is vital to reduce the drug problem that blights some neighbourhoods. I would urge you to get in touch with Surrey Police on 101 if you think you have intelligence about illegal drugs. Remember that you can report illegal and anti-social activity to police and this can be used as evidence without you having to go to court. Also remember if you don’t want to leave your name an anonymous call can be made to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

The activity does also not end with the enforcing of the law, and the local Guildford Safer Neighbourhood Team will be working closely with its partner agencies to offer help and support to those people who have suffered antisocial behaviour due to these individuals and to signpost those people who use drugs and need to break the cycle of addiction through rehabilitation and treatment.

Surrey Police, together with the Surrey Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) and Guildford Borough Council, is committed to tackling drug problems in a consistent and continuous manner.

Kevin Deanus of the Surrey Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) said: “Reducing the demand for drugs in and around Surrey is a key priority for the DAAT. Operation Hearth may be visible as a police enforcement action but there are so many other consequences for the families, friends and local communities that we need to support.

“The police operation may identify others who have a substance misuse problem who want help. If we can support these people through treatment and health interventions, then we can help them fulfil their potential in a positive and productive way. If people have any concerns then they can phone 0808 802 5000, free of charge and talk to the Surrey Drug and Alcohol Care line.”

Guildford Borough Councillor, Richard Billington, lead councillor for community safety and health said: “Operation Hearth has played a key role in bringing together partner agencies to tackle drug dealing and its associated anti-social behaviour within the borough. We will continue to work closely with Surrey Police to reduce the illegal use and supply of drugs, and where problems exist, provide ongoing support to local communities. We look forward to working with the new Police and Crime Commissioner on these productive projects.”

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